Creating an ethical data culture will be one of the most valuable strategic actions any organization can take now.
The ability to innovate with data, AI and automation will define the winners and losers over the next decade. The most important piece in the puzzle to enable this innovation is finding the right people. With everyone in on the race, the key to finding the right people will be to establish the right culture and to provide meaningful work. A systemically ethical data culture is the foundation on which future success will be built.
Systemic Data Ethics is a practical and conceptual framework to enable the creation of organizational data cultures that work.
This introduction to Systemic Data Ethics is constantly evolving. We're updating and evolving it based on feedback at a very rapid rate - it may change as you read it.
The Systemic Data Ethics framework is a whole system view of data ethics. It enables organizations to make sense of what Data Ethics means in practice, providing a stable foundation for long term strategy, and a way to take the next step.
12 Domains to simplify complexity
In a nutshell, the Systemic Data Ethics framework divides the field of data ethics into 12 structured domains. These domains simplify strategy, help avoid blind-spots and diversity of what is required, and enable more effective delegation.
Bias, by definition is “A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment”. A whole system framework makes it possible to detect bias within the bounds of the framework. Each domain is partial to a specific set of values, and through the application of the framework, it is possible to identify and assess what might be inhibiting your ability to make impartial, ethical judgements. (
Structured to enable classification and measurement
The structure of the domains also provide a practical foundation for information classification. Enabling research and practice from many different sources to be integrated and powering tools for measurement and benchmarking.
Aggregating and distilling knowledge
This interactive document has been built to validate and demonstrate the way in which the Systemic Data Ethics framework provides a structured and stable view of the whole field of data ethics.
To see an example of the kind of aggregate insight the framework makes possible, take a look at our
Data Ethics matters - Every organization must now learn to work with data. A solid ethical framework will both unleash innovation by providing clarity, and reduce the risk of serious consequences from failure.
Know where to start with data ethics - The complexity of data ethics means that many organizations simply don’t know where to start. This means that they become too afraid of innovating or they give up on data ethics.
Enable collaboration and establish standards - Data ethics requires a multidisciplinary approach. The framework provides a way to understand and align different perspectives.
How to use the framework
The Systemic Data Ethics framework provides a way to think about Data Ethics as a system. The first step to applying the framework is simply to use the framework to help you see the big picture.
Use the twelve domains to see what you might be missing
Each domain is a different perspective, with a different set of needs and objectives. If you’re needing to think about data ethics within your team or organization, use the domains to see if there are obvious blind spots.
Approach data ethics on three levels
Each of the levels represents a clearly different approach. Use the framework to divide responsibility.
Include all four dimensions in your work
We’re all biased to focus on a particular dimension of activity. To really make ethics work, each of these dimensions needs to be included.
If you would like to know more, get in touch and schedule a short 30 min introduction call. We can answer questions, and help you get started. We’re looking get feedback on how this framework can solve practical problems.
The Systemic Data Ethics Framework is a map of the field of data ethics, designed to guide organizations on their journey towards responsible innovation. This map is built using systemic principles to integrate all different approaches to data ethics, providing a framework that will remain consistent over time, while continuing to integrate new developments from the field.
To cultivate the recognition that data ethics can only truly be addressed in a systemic way
Encourage deep and broad engagement with data ethics from across entire organizations
Create a coherent framework that goes far beyond the technical and theoretical elements of data ethics.
Foster greater cross disciplinary collaboration by revealing the interconnection between diverse efforts
The Systemic Data Ethics framework is an open, creative commons licenced conceptual and operational map of the different domains required to make technology compatible with the future of humanity and the biosphere.
We are encouraging organizations to adopt the framework and it’s whole system approach in the hope that it can support the adoption and operationalisation of data ethics in practice.
Like most of this project, our introduction presentation is a work in progress.
A database of sources
This document is our research foundation. It is an active database that contains the results of our work to validate this framework. This is not yet, in any, way a polished final output - but we’re seeking all the input we can to get it there.
The content of this document has been generated as follows:
We identify useful texts and frameworks on data ethics
We work through texts, identifying key “aspects”, be they principles, questions, practices (The exact details are being refined)
Each aspect is then classified according to our framework